The much-awaited South African tour of India started this month. All the excitement and anticipation surrounding the fact that it was finally here died down in the matter of a couple of hours; coincidentally about the same duration as that of a T20 match.
Actually, it was less of a coincidence and more of a directly-proportional cause-and-effect relationship.
The First Match- A disappointing end
Du Plessis won the toss and in a few minutes, an enthusiastic South African side walked on to the field and took their positions. The visitors claimed an early wicket, but the hosts came back strong and established a 138 run stand for the 2nd wicket partnership. Things got slow towards the end of the innings and the 199 wasn’t going to be enough, not on that day. The South African chase was steady, with a few bumps along the road. To the sheer disappointment of Indian fans, they saw themselves home in the final over.
The Second Match- A one-sided game
Full of energy and raring to make a comeback, the Indian team was put in to bat first once again. It was a new day, a fresh start, but the outcome wasn’t very different. The batting line up collapsed and the vigour faded simultaneously. A low score of 92 was going to be a child’s play for the South Africans. And it was. They chased it in 17 odd overs and sailed to an easy victory, clinching the 3 match series with an unbeatable lead of 2-0.
The Third Match- Washed away
The match was dead rubber, and the Men in Blue were just playing for pride. But as luck would have it, the match was called off due to inclement weather. Don’t know if it was a blessing or a curse…
Viewing the three matches played so far (2 T20s and 1 ODI) holistically, it hasn’t been all that bad for two games were fairly close and losing by a whisker in the shorter formats of the game allows the team to get away with it once in a while.
But at the end of the day, winning is winning and losing is losing, and the Indian team just wasn’t good enough. If things have to change, it is time for them to pull up their socks, optimally utilise the crucial moments of the game and not let opportunities slip by. Because in the end, it’s the little things that often make the difference.